‘Child of Love and Water’: Six Questions for D.K. Marley [INTERVIEW]

D.K. Marley

Discover what inspired D.K. Marley to travel nearly 300 years into the past to tell her new story, Child of Love and Water. (Photo courtesy D.K. Marley, Facebook)

The origins of stories are as varied as the writers who record them. For historical novelist D.K. Marley, when it came to her latest book, Child of Love and Water, she had only to look toward a very special place that had been whispering its secrets to her for years. How she retells its tale is something very unique. We hope you enjoy this introduction to Marley and her work.—J&H

J&H: What is the premise of Child of Love and Water and what inspired you to write it?

DKM: The premise is what would happen if a young child was raised without any knowledge of fear, hate, or prejudice; and how would how she saw the world affect others who only ever knew those things. The inspiration came simply from my love of Jekyll Island. I lived near there for five years and vacationed there for over 20, so the sheer simplicity and unspoiled nature always spoke to me like a story. As if a story was begging to be written about the island itself. I started imagining, one day while walking on the beach, if the island were a girl, what would she say? What would she teach? What lessons might she speak during the days when she truly was unspoiled, before the days when others stepped foot on her beach? That is where the story began.

J&H: You use the dialects of the Gullah, Muskogean and Gaelic speaking people in this book. Are these languages you have learned and was it challenging to utilize these tongues in your story?

DKM: I did a lot of research about the languages and was able to download and acquire several dictionaries that are available online and in print. I found it was a challenge because I wanted to stay true to the language to pay tribute to the beautiful people who speak them, yet I knew that many readers might find it a challenge to read. I did take a few liberties, very slight, but hope it keeps the sense of the languages; at least enough to inspire others to maybe look into the languages themselves.

J&H: As you researched this book, you interviewed people like John Winterhawk of the Creek Nation and Queen Quet of the Gullah Geechee people. What surprising insights did they share with you regarding their indigenous people and their cultures?

DKM: Oh, so many! To be honest and fair, much of what they shared with me was for my research only and to help me with my story. I think one of the best things Queen Quet said to me when I asked her if she might tell me a story in her language while we sat there in the interview was, “No, you come and stay with us on the island. You sit with us around the fire and listen, then you will hear, but now is not the time.” I think one of the best ways to get to know either of these fascinating cultures and people is to visit Saint Helena’s Island in South Carolina and the Creek Nation in Oklahoma. Listen to their stories!

J&H: The four characters whose lives you interweave in this story are quite different from one another. Which one spoke to you the most and why? And what is one lesson they teach each other which you hope your readers will take away from this story?

DKM: Muirin’s story spoke the deepest to me for she is the soul of love and the soul of the island. She has the greatest lesson to teach to the three other people who come to her island. Sometimes even when we are alone, such as she was, and sometimes when we suffer loss, as she did, love is what gets us through. When we surround ourselves with friends and family and show true love, we find our way through pain and grief. Unfortunately, I learned this unbearable lesson when I lost my own daughter and son-in-law five years ago to a drunk driver. This story reaches to the heart of what people need to understand, of how alike we are in our suffering, pain, and loss; and how much we can help each other to overcome.

J&H: How did living near the coastal islands of Jekyll, Saint Simons and Cumberland affect your life? And what is your favorite memory of your time spent there?

DKM: One word: profoundly. There is a saying about Jekyll – “Once you step foot on the island, you will always come back.” For me, this is so true. It’s hard to pinpoint just one memory since I have spent so much time there. I have memories of my kids playing on the beach from the time they were little to the day my daughter got engaged to her boyfriend on that same beach, so how do I choose? I can’t, there is simply too many, and many more to come!

J&H: Muirin often seems watchful and wise. What was it that spoke to you most about her character? And what words of advice do you think she would have for mankind living today?

DKM: Her innocence and belief in the good in people. In so many ways, she reminds me of my own daughter. She, too, was very watchful and wise beyond her years, and now will always remain forever young. I think the advice Muirin would give is the same profound truth found in the Bible – “Love never fails.”

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The year is 1722. A child is born on the isolated island of Ospo off the Georgia coast. In the midst of General Oglethorpe’s vision for this new land, and the emerging townships of Frederica and Savannah, four lives entwine together on this island like the woven fronds in a sea-grass basket – the orphaned Irish girl born free of hate or prejudice, a war-ravaged British soldier seeking forgiveness and absolution, a runaway Gullah slave girl desperate for a word of kindness on the wind, and a Creek Indian warrior searching for answers about this intrusion onto his homeland. What they learn from this wild innocent girl, and from each other, will change their lives forever.

A new birth, a new country, and the elements – Water, Wind, Fire, and Earth – entwine to teach one thing: Love conquers all. Love sees beyond borders. There is no ignorance in love.


D. K. Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, gave her a volume of Shakespeare’s plays when she was eleven, inspiring D.K. to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language.

Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel, Blood and Ink, an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio.

She is an avid Shakespearean/Marlowan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops, and is a graduate of the intense training workshop, “The Writer’s Retreat Workshop,” founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes.

She lives in Georgia with her husband and a Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.

To find out more, like D.K. on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

By D.K. Marley
301 pp. CreateSpace. $17.95

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours bannerPurchase Child of Love and Water at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and IndieBound.

Child of Love and Water is brought to you in association with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

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About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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